After years of investigation by New York investigators to collect the illegal items, the US has returned 27 antiques to Cambodia, including Hindu and Buddhist statues.
Several Hindu and Angkorian Buddhist statues, including a bronze meditating Buddha on a Naga, a Shiva statue, and a Buddhist sandstone sculpture of Prajnaparamita, were valued at around $3.8 million.
“The repatriation of these 27 stunning relics to the people of Cambodia restores an important link between the nation’s classical Angkor era and its modern customs and beliefs that, for far too long, was disrupted by the greed of stolen antiquities traffickers,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr said in a statement.
Phoeurng Sackona, Cambodia’s Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, described the antiques as the “lost spirits” of the country’s forefathers.
Following investigations by Manhattan’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit and Homeland Security Investigations, approximately 400 Cambodian artifacts were repatriated to ten countries.
Two 680 kilogram (1,500 lb) stone carvings stolen decades ago and on display at a San Francisco museum were returned to Thailand last week by US authorities.